Have you met my skeleton?
Some people have skeletons IN their closet… I have a skeleton ON my closet. This was not always the case. Last year around Halloween the cleaning woman in our dorm decorated for the holiday. This included putting a life-size green skeleton on the wall right outside my dorm door. Every time I walked around in my room he’d catch my eye, and I always thought there was someone outside my door. This actually creeped me out. I figured I’d just move him down the hall a little bit further, and he wouldn’t bother me anymore. Maybe I’d give him a name, too, because that’s a nice thing to do for a skeleton.
Well, I was telling my friend Laura about him, and she had another idea. At 3am on a Friday night, Laura and I decided this poor green skeleton needed a makeover. I was in a Human Biology core requirement at the time, and we’ just finished learning the bones of the body. What better way to study than to label the bones on the skeleton in the hallway? Well, when we’d finished my skeleton we moved on to the two other skeleton’s in the building, repositioning them to live directly outside of Laura’s dorm and a mutual friend’s dorm.
Of course, these skeletons needed names (as did the mice living in their ribs and feet). I don’t remember were “Chula” came from, but “Schwann” was from the Schwann cells of the Peripheral Nervous System (what we were presently studying in my biology class). We toyed with names like, “Glial”, “Axon”, “Dendrite”, too, but “Schwann” seemed to be the strongest. Yes, Laura and I get mega-nerd points. I'd like to add that Laura waned to label the muscles on the fully-clothed witch, but I felt that was a little over-kill. Either way, our adoptive father is an anatomy professor (but not my prof) and was incredibly proud of us for our hard work.
The cleaning woman wasn’t quite as proud. In fact, she was upset that we moved the skeletons. Lucky for us, we had earned her forgiveness before it was time to de-decorate. I think it had something to do with her perception of us being nursing majors and she thought it was just part of the gig in being a nursing major. Boy did we have her fooled! Laura and I are religion and writing majors… not even close to nursing. Independently of each other, Laura and I both asked her if we could keep the skeletons. The cleaning woman forgave us and gave us the skeletons. Somehow Laura got the purple one while I got the green one. We used Sharpie to re-label the bones on the third skeleton, Jobab Schwann, and mailed it to our friend Natalie who was studying for the MCAT.
For the remainder of the year, Chula Schwann hung on my wall and Toby Schwann (Laura’s purple skeleton) hung on her wall. Well, that is until Toby imploded and then he lay collapsed on top of Laura’s microwave. Like Yossarian in Catch-22, I had a dead man in my room. Unlike Yossarian’s dead man, Mudd, my deadman didn’t have any stuff. In fact, Chula learned to be a pretty good dancer as we’d periodically rearrange his appendages throughout the year.
At the end of the year, I brought Chula home with me (amputating his leg in the process), and I couldn’t figure out what to do with him. I wasn’t quite ready to part with my nerdiness, so I did the only logical thing I could think of to do: I hung him up. Of course, the only space in my room open enough to hang a paper skeleton is on the closet door. This is how I have a skeleton ON my closet rather than IN it.
Today I gave Chula Schwann a new do. No clothes for the skeleton, nor did I remove the notecards differentiating between his mandible and maxilla (which I might have finally learned, thank you).
The newest book I'm reading is called A Novel Idea and each chapter is written by a different published author in the Christian world. The chapter I just read is by Angela Hunt and it's entitled "The Plot Skeleton." Like the title suggests, she talks about plot in terms of a skeleton. Since I'm a visual learner, I figured I should draw this out, and what better specimen than the skeleton on my closet?
I, of course, can't take a picture of Chula in his present condition because that would give away too many details that I don't want to reveal, but I can give you a quick summary of Hunt's chapter.
First the skull, the protagonist. This protagonist has two problems, also known as eye sockets. One is a clearly defined, known problem while the other is more hidden. Head down (pun intended) to the cervical vetebrae, or neck, where the protagonist experiences some sort of problem further introducing the reader to the character and exposing coping mechanisms. This isn't the catastrophe, that's waiting somewhere around the thoracic vertebrae (middle of the back, for those of you who don't have skeletons at your disposal). Throw in at least three ribs of complications and muscle in between as resolution. Chula doesn't have any muscles between his ribs, but he does have a mouse in there, so we had to improvise. Move on to the femur, considered to be the bleakest moment where Hunt forbids miracle fixes to the protagonist's problems. Move past the knee and you hit two helpful parts: the fibula and the tibia. One is an external force that pushes and encourages the protagonist to keep going; the other is an internal decision the protagonist makes thus solving the previously hidden problem and learning a lesson. Hit the foot and it's time to wrap it up. The end.
Here's my problem, this skeleton Hunt has created is a double-arm amputee, but I amputated Chula's leg, remember? Well, just like reconnecting Chula's leg, I'm entertaining the idea of making the arms subplots involving other characters that interact with the protagonist. Not quite sure yet, and I'd love your opinion.
As always, thanks for reading!